Comparing Video Production Companies (& How They Impact Project Cost) [Marketing]


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How many people does it take to produce a video? This is a great question. The costs and quality of your video will vary depending on the number of professionals needed to complete your project.
Some people will tell you length is the largest determining factor when it comes to the cost of a video but I’m here to tell you that’s not the case.

In general, you have four options when producing video:

  • Internal/Intern
  • Solo Videographer
  • Video Production Company
  • Ad Agency
I’m going to walk you through the differences of each video production option and how the variables affect the cost and the quality.
In a previous blog, I talked about my inadequacies when it comes to fixing my lawnmower. For this post, I’m going to compare a few more videos in the lawn mowing industry to show you the pros and cons of each option.
The goal is to help you see the progression of quality as the number of video professionals increase. So, let’s see how many people it takes to produce your video. Here are your options:

Option 1: Intern or internal employee

Number of professionals required: Zero
Costs: Low (Possibly under $500 – depending on employee salary)
Quality: Suspect
More and more companies are exploring the option of using staff to produce videos. Let’s face it, people have grown up with video and many tinker with video on the side. So, there’s a good chance someone on your staff has the desire and maybe even the ability to produce your video.
Often, this approach meets the needs of the company, especially if it’s an internal training or simple message from the CEO.
While it might appear you are saving money, this decision often comes at the cost of employee productivity. While professionals cost a lot more per hour to produce videos, they are faster and more efficient.
What could take a professional 5 hours to produce, could take a non-professional employee five to ten times longer to complete. You must weigh this cost when deciding whether to use your internal staff. Is it worth it to remove your employee from their regular tasks?

Here is an example of a video shot by a non-professional. It gives you the intended info but is fairly rudimentary. It accomplishes its goal but is not broadcast quality by any means.

Option 2: Solo Videographer

Number of professionals required: One
Costs: $500 – $5,000
Quality: Decent but room for improvement
A good way to keep costs down but bump up your production value is to reach out to the independent videographer, often known as the one-person-band.
This person does it all: shoot, write, edit, graphics, etc. However, the phrase, “Jack of all trades, master of none” comes to mind.
Often, the lone videographer is excellent at some tasks like shooting or audio but might lack skills in editing or writing. That’s ok though. You are still going to get a quality product that you’re comfortable showing the general public.
The video might not be flashy but it’s going to serve its purpose. Usually, you’ll use an employee for the on-camera talent. You’ll stick to one location for the shoot. Graphics will be limited. But again, you will get a decent product.

In this example, the first thing you’ll notice is the animated open. This automatically tells the viewer this was done professionally. The videographer used a tripod and the lighting is okay.
The on-camera talent is an employee but appears comfortable and knowledgeable. There are cut-away shots to show the action. Lastly, there is music in the background. All in all, this is a successful video in that it shows me how to replace a drive belt.

Option 3: Video Production Company

Number of professionals: 2+
Costs: $5,000 – $50,000
Quality: High
When production value is important, it’s time to reach out to a professional video production company. This usually happens when messaging is important, a strategy is required, and the final product needs to be visually appealing. Examples include company culture overviews, product launches, etc.
As I mentioned, the number of video professionals required to complete the project determines video cost. At a minimum, a video production company will provide you a videographer and a producer/director.
There are instances where one or two more people like an audio technician, makeup artist, or a lighting professional are included. This increases the quality and the budget.
A video production company has experts who write scripts, develop the creative strategy, and ensure you have a high-end video you want to show the world.

Here is an example of a training video that was produced by a video production company. Notice the beginning of the video starts with a jib or crane shot.
The on-camera talent is a professional. The company chose to shoot the video in several locations to create more visual appeal for the viewers. The end of the video contains motion graphics.
All in all, this is a well-produced video.

Option 4: Ad Agency

Number of professionals: A lot (10+)
Costs: A lot ($75,000+)
Quality: Off the charts
You need a video that is visually stunning. Maybe you’re hoping to broadcast it nationally. Heck, maybe you’re ready for the big time! I’m talking Super Bowl ad! This is where ad agencies shine.
They have video professionals to work with you on strategy, concepting, scripting, demographics, buying airtime, hiring Hollywood directors. They’ll even provide catered meals, pop artists to sing your jingle, and Johnny Depp to be your spokesperson (if the price is right).
I think you get what I’m saying. Ad agencies will produce the highest quality video for you, but the costs can be astronomical.

Ad agencies tend to shy away from “how-to” videos, so I had to get creative. Here is a promotional video from Toro for a line of snowblowers. The first thing you notice is this is a highly stylized video. They hired professional actors. The sound is just as important as the visuals. It’s a really cool concept. (Cool, get it, snowblowers, snow, hockey. Sorry about that).

Conclusion

Ultimately, when producing videos for your company, you have options. You simply need to take a look at your goals and resources.
Maybe an intern is perfect for your next project. Maybe you need a little help, so a solo videographer is the best choice. Whatever you choose, just remember, the cost isn’t determined by length. The number of professionals needed to complete your video determines the cost.
So, how many professionals does it take to create your video?

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